If you have the notion to move to the UK for a while, learning how to navigate the credit scene while you’re there is a must-do.
The Scoring System
The way that credit ratings get measured in the UK is a bit different than in the US. A 720 score in the US, is considered good, but is only considered poor in the UK. A superior score of 850 in the US is less than the 999 in the UK.
The scoring system is slightly different, number-wise, but there are also other differences, such as being on the electoral roll. If you’re not on it, it’s difficult to gain credit. Once you’re on it, though, the way is made a little smoother. Also, there is something called the Gone Away Information Network where there is a file of people who have missed payments and not told their creditors about any forwarding addresses.
That being said, much of the same information is on a UK credit report as there is on one from the States. Also, once you make your final preparations for your trip overseas, be sure to get your credit rating up to snuff, because authorities will take a look at your credit rating to be sure you’re not just running away from bad credit. If you are, it’s not likely you’ll get a visa. But if your report is sterling, you’re bound to be let in. So if you’re UK-bound, even if it’s just for a year or two, make sure you have your score in tip-top shape.
Two out of the three bureaus that report credit in the US do so also in the UK. The only difference is that the third bureau in the US is Transunion, and the third bureau in the UK is called Call Credit.
Just be sure that if you’re an American expat, even for a short time, you need to keep up your US credit rating as your rating in the UK doesn’t mean anything once you’re back on American soil. If you neglect your US-based rating for too long, it’ll be as if you never had any credit at all once you get back home and you have to start all over.
Building up credit in the UK is just a bit different than in in the US, but it’s just similar enough that you won’t have too much trouble getting settled financially once you’ve landed on British soil.